I have fond memories foraging through the paddocks of our family farm with my grandad looking for mushrooms. I never really knew a good mushroom from a bad one, but I treasured the time with my grandad nevertheless.
When Kevin and I moved to Brno, we moved right in the middle of Houbaření (the mushroom hunting season). We soon learned that Czechs were the most passionate mushroom pickers in the world with over 70% of the population joining in on the hobby/sport. Unlike me, most children here grow up knowing exactly which mushrooms are good or not and this food foraging hobby is one that a lot of Czech’s not only enjoy doing year after year.
Mushrooms however aren’t the only popular thing to forage for here. Every couple of months there seems to be another vegetable, herb or fruit to be picked and then preserved, bottled, or dried, ready for the next season. Whether it’s elderberries for lemonade, dandelions for honey or nettle to make a soothing tea, Czech’s seem to either grow it themselves or are proactive about going out to collect it.
Kevin and I have been lucky enough to have keen foraging Czech friends to learn from about which plant to pick for which season and where to go for the best varieties and how to respect nature whilst doing it. As much as I’m ashamed to say, we haven’t made use of this information yet as we keep missing the optimal timing – we obviously aren’t very experienced foragers. Fortunately for us though, our friends have let us reap the benefits of their hard work and have shared with us their mushrooms, wild garlic, thyme, elderberry syrups and rose hips. Hopefully next year we can return the favour.
Late autumn is a good time to pick rose hips which can be used for making tea, oils, syrups, jam – you name it. Last week, my neighbour had been out collecting some and gave me a jar full of dried rose hips for me to use. She said she likes to make tea from them, which of course is what I decided to do too.
Rose hips are full of vitamin C and are also meant to be amazing for nearly any stomach pain/problem. Handy.
There are several ways to make rose hip tea and you can use fresh or dried. I like the way my neighbour does it as it seems to be the most simple and easy.
All you need is:
- Dried rose hips
The amount of rose hips and water depends on how much tea you are making and how strong you like it. I used a large handful of dried rose hips and 2 cups of water which I thought created a nice, balanced taste.
The rose hips are soaked in the water overnight, then boiled and simmered for 5- 10 minutes. The water then is strained into a cup and is ready to drink – the perfect winter warmer.
I added a cinnamon stick and some cloves to the water whilst it was boiling but you can drink as it is, or add some fresh spearmint or peppermint leaves instead. Drinking it chilled is also nice, sweetened with a little honey.
Are you a keen food forager? If so, have you picked your rose hips for the season yet?
- A handful of whole dried rose hips *
- 2 cups water
- Cinnamon stick and cloves
- Peppermint leaves
- Spearmint Leaves
- 1. Combine rose hips with water in a saucepan along with any desired flavourings. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- 2. Strain the tea and pour into cups (I like to leave a few of the rose hips in the tea).
- Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.
- * You can also use fresh or crushed dried rose hips in a warmed teapot, pour boiling water over them, and steep, covered, for 10 minutes.
- * Preparation time doesn't include soaking time